Diagnosis: Monday Blues. Prescription: The cute side of YouTube

Long time no post. Whoops. Unfortunately, that trend may continue for a little while; I had an open class last week and two this week (I will address these in a future post), and then we’re starting speaking tests at both of my schools, which means I’m responsible for creating the questions, testing, and grading the “speaking ability” of every kid in the school (for my small school) or every 3rd grader in the school (for my main school).

At 2-3 minutes per kid, the test really doesn’t demonstrate their actual English skill per se – especially when you consider that many of them will have pre-memorized rote answers to the questions instead of speaking naturally. But I am actually looking forward to seeing each kid one-on-one rather than in the classroom, where the quiet or shy ones get drowned out.

In addition, this past weekend wasn’t much of a weekend because all the new Daegu EPIK teachers had to attend a teacher training workshop from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. Yes, I did get some new ideas for class activities and management techniques, and I did glean a few new insights, but I also think the sessions could’ve definitely been condensed into one day.

So, just in case anyone from the Daegu Office of Education is reading this (haha, yeah right): please do not take both of our weekend days away from us in the future. I’m totally okay with attending workshops that will help my personal and professional development as a teacher, but I’m not okay with wasting time and taking two hours to do something that could be done just as (if not more) effectively in one.

Anyway… for today, because I am far too busy and exhausted to write a post that actually requires me to use my brain cells, I’m just gonna leave this here:

Hmm… I think maybe she smells like beef. What I love most about this video is her varying facial expressions even as she repeats the same sentence in the same really weird voice (well, till the end when she hilariously shouts it). It’s like she’s going through a whole range of emotions and realizations about the fact that she does, in fact, smell like beef. I love it.

Incidentally, I can relate to her predicament – smelling like beef (and smoke) also applies to me after visiting a grill-it-yourself style bulgogi restaurant here. Can’t get it out of clothes or hair until both have been washed.

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the cultural differences you don’t think about

Of course there are very obvious differences between life in the U.S. and life in Korea. We don’t bow when we greet people, for example, and we don’t always take off our shoes before entering a home. These are the surface level differences that almost anyone could point out.

But then there are smaller differences below the surface that you just have to experience for yourself.

Today’s example comes from my trip to the local grocery store. It’s conveniently located less than 10 minutes (on foot) from my apartment. The box of cereal I bought was too big to fit in a paper grocery bag with the rest of my purchases.

The ajumma checking me out said something in Korean that I didn’t understand… then swiftly ripped the cardboard box open, pulled out the plastic bag of cereal and put it in the bag, threw away the cardboard and handed me the shopping bag.

If you did that in America, you’d probably get sued for damaging someone’s food. Here, it’s just using common sense. 눈치 (noonchi). It’s faster and doesn’t waste an extra paper bag, so why not?

These are the hidden flavors of Korean culture that you can only taste by living here. I love it.